Here’s what you need to know about Troy, Duke’s first NCAA opponent


The Tar Heels have talked all season about getting back to the NCAA title game after losing to Villanova on a last-second 3-pointer in their championship matchup a year ago.

And so the NCAA Tournament’s Greenville bracket comes with more drama than Buffalo, Tulsa and Milwaukee combined. “Now it’s all about guards”, Bourret said. “Anytime you’ve got to change time zones it’s an adjustment”.

Duke and MI have emerged as public darlings at Las Vegas sportsbooks, attracting big bets heading into the first two full days of the NCAA tournament. In the last 30 tournaments before the 1986-87 season, a guard won the award only seven times. At 5-foot-7, Jefferson is one of the smallest players in college basketball, but his play this year has made him a big name in Houston. Duke beat South No. 1 seed North Carolina in two of three meetings and have a better resume. But after that, this region is shaky – and there are many upset possibilities.

I’ve had North Carolina pegged as the best team in the country for quite some time now, but after the bracket was unveiled on Sunday, my confidence in them has skyrocketed.

Bam Adebayo gives Kentucky a big presence on the inside, but outside of those three players, the Wildcats are a team full of role players. The Tigers are 60-1 to pull off the upset, which would make them the first 16-seed ever to win a game in the tournament.

Virginia Commonwealth is a No. 10 seed again, this time against Saint Mary’s after winning its opener over Oregon State last March.

Bilas knows firsthand the difference between playing with a 3-point line and without.

Having said that, putting Duke at a No. 2 isn’t disgusting.

First-round winners: North Carolina, Arkansas, Middle Tennessee, Butler, Cincinnati, UCLA, Wichita State and Kentucky (though don’t be surprised if the Wildcats struggle with Northern Kentucky).

“If you couldn’t win before, you can’t win now”, Bilas said. Contrary to popular belief, the Bulldogs have beaten good teams and have dominated for most of this season. “There’s always a premium on skill and on shooting in basketball, always”. But not as the No. 2 seed in a second-round game at an NCAA Tournament site near home. The Jayhawks are certainly talented enough to reach the Final Four and win the national championship, but MI may be a team of destiny after winning the Big 10 Conference Tournament last weekend. The Cyclones are hot after just winning the Big 12 tournament and Monte Morris was a big reason why.

– The Duke Blue Devils may be relatively close to home in Greenville, S.C., to tip off the NCAA Tournament, but fans who traveled to follow them expect to hear more boos than cheers. The freshman is second on the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and is aggressive in taking the ball to the rim, relying on his scoring inside the arc to boost his scoring totals. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.

Or that he was the worst kind of scoundrel, a player who took money and cheated the game while letting teammates do the dirty work. They were seeded 12th and had to face Clemson, also a 12th seed in a play-in game, and lost.

Anyone up for a rematch in the April 3 title game in Phoenix? We’re going to play another high-major team as we did all through November and December.


When Grayson Allen thundered down the lane in T-Mobile Arena in December over the helpless and hapless UNLV basketball team, he sent a statement with the dunk that got replayed on “SportsCenter” the rest of the day.

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